ESNY

With the announcement of a Vegas expansion the NHL has once again proved that their fans come last. Gary Bettman’s NHL is all about the green.

Pending a Board of Governors vote which will take place on June 22nd, it’s looking like the NHL will be taking their talents to Las Vegas in 2017.

It’s time to address the greed and blatant lack of self-awareness that could hurt the game we all love so much.

Dear Commissioner Bettman,

Please, stop.

Stop treating the league and game your fans love like your own NHL Sim game.

For years you have not only demonstrated your incompetence but  also a blatant lack of respect for your loyal fans, and a loyal bunch we are.

It’s not just a cliche that NHL fans are some of the most loyal, passionate, and knowledgeable fans in all of sports-it’s a truth.

True hockey fans are like sheep as they will show up to the rink despite their team’s record. Hockey fans don’t just think, but believe that their teams are capable of winning the Stanley Cup every season.

While this behavior and loyalty should be rewarded, you have taken advantage of it Mr. Commissioner.

You know that NHL fans will show up to their respective arenas despite three lockouts and you will use that loyalty as leverage.

Oh and for the record, we don’t show up following three lockouts because we are stupid but rather because we are passionate. We love the game of hockey, but that passion has sadly become our downfall.

Since you have been commissioner Mr. Bettman, fans have experienced a lockout every time the collective barganing agreement has expired.

Now I’m not going to debate if the lockouts were warranted, but I will say that the only people who have lost out are your fans.

Were there serious issues such as revenue sharing that needed to be addressed in the CBA? Of course. But the fact that you couldn’t nail down some of these issues without a lockout are unforgivable.

The NHL never has been and never will be the most famous of the four major sports. Overall, it’s a sport that is too expensive and not practical for every child to play unlike baseball, basketball, or football.

But for some reason you seem intent on expanding a league that is hanging on for dear life in some cities.

Why? Is it arrogance?

The NHL is operating just fine with 30 teams. In fact, the league would be more competitive and exciting with 28.

There are a handful of teams that lose money annually, but big time television deals and revenue sharing bail those cities out.

So rather than focusing your efforts on making those cities that suffer from financial troubles year in and year out more stable (Florida Panthers, Arizona Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes), you have decided to expand your operation.

And not only have you expanded, but to Las Vegas?

If I were a gambling man (pun intended), I would bet that Las Vegas’ team will be looking to move in under a decade. While they claim to have 14,000 season ticket holders ready to buy, the test of time will truly tell us if Vegas is a hockey town.

Spoiler alert: it’s not. 

I highly doubt that what is about to happen in Vegas will stay in Vegas.

But I’m sure Mr. Bettman, that the very thought of casinos and resorts wining and dining their high rollers at a hockey game was just too much to pass up.

Meanwhile, Quebec just cannot seem to break back into the NHL’s good graces. By my calculations there is something fundamentally wrong when Las Vegas can acquire a team and Quebec can’t.

Sheesh, it’s not like Canada invented the sport or anything…

In a couple years we’ll see another expansion team with a bunch of players who were thrown together play for a crowd who will most likely lose interest in a few years.

Quebec will still not have a team, the overall competitiveness of the league will suffer, and fans will most likely have to endure yet another lockout when the current CBA ends in 2022.

Oh, but you’re doing a great job Commish, keep it up.

NEXT: Here’s What Expansion Means For The New York Islanders

2 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with the fact expansion is not the right move at this time, and was a strong supporter of moving the coyotes (or Panthers) to Vegas to prove southern Nevada’s power and love for the game. I also agree that Commish is playing a very dangerous sim game, especially when he decides to expand again for Seattle (We all know its coming, along with the hurricanes to quebec). Im in disbelief that you find these moves so surprising. 3 lockouts in how many years, and why?? Easy answer $$$ This is all that Bettman Sees. $500mil expansion fee he would be a fool not to take. Although i don’t agree with expansion, I will say the game the league will do fine, actually they will do better then fine. NHL can become more popular amongst the top 4, All he has to do is Quit with the lockouts. Quit with the greed which has dropped the game so low in popularity. Gone are the Days of Sunday, and Wednesday nights on ESPN, you know when the game was in its glory days. The lockouts are what has destroyed that, (I know because i was one who said never again to the NHL after lockout #2) and destroyed the great TV deals the NHL had at the time. Lately the popularity (In the US) is coming back, thanks to (Hate to say it) NBC, and NBCSN. Of course that Loyalty amongst the fans you referenced is the driving force, the new viewers and new fans are a result of the recent NBC exposure. Hockey doesn’t Need any gimmicks to become popular, it doesn’t need a big sneaker deal, the game just needs to be on. Uninterrupted, labor dispute free.
    As a Native New Yorker and now 11 year Vegas resident I have to say your off on Vegas. This is one that not only myself but the thousands of transplants here in Vegas cannot wait to prove you doubters wrong. Those loyal fans you spoke of are also in vegas, they have come from all around the country and now call Vegas home, and bringing NHL to Vegas is basically bringing a piece that was missing from our original home to the desert for us. We have struggled without Hockey or sports, for our entire time in the desert, we know what we have been missing and will not take it for granted like the other struggling cities in the NHL.
    No more 5hr drives to see the Ducks, or 4.5hrs to LA to see the Kings, or 5.5 to see the Coyotes (OK those will all still happen) Vegas IS READY for NHL and its time for everyone to Notice!!!
    #1 Always – GO RANGERS
    #1.5 from now on GO VEGAS BLACK KNIGHTS!?!?

  2. More short-sightedness from the NHL… chasing the rainbow when the pot of gold is right there in QC, and doing a weird 1-team expansion to LV to 31 teams. bush league at its best. The NHL will never make a serious mark in sports until it makes wiser governance decisions